The Little Buds in our Mouth
Have you ever wondered how unappetizing food would be if every morsel of the food tasted the same? We wouldn’t even look forward to eating or trying out new cuisines. Just yesterday, I sat down in front of the mirror and looked at my tongue with a magnifying glass. I saw a billion tiny bumps. I was curious to know what they were, so I did a little research and found out that these tiny protrusions are called taste buds. There are thousands of taste buds towards the tip, the sides and the back of our tongue. These are the little guys responsible for detecting flavours like sweet, sour, bitter and salty. The sides of our tongue are responsible for detecting saltiness of food, the back of our tongue detects the bitter flavour, the tip is sensitive to sugary food and the middle is responsible for detecting sour taste.
It’s often that I find myself unable to eat spicy food that the adults in my family eat easily, and without flinching. I can feel my tongue on fire, yet sometimes I even notice that my grandfather finds the same food bland!
In order to investigate why, I read this book on the human body and found out that an average person has ten thousand taste buds and that they get replaced every 9 -10 days. But as you get older these taste buds reduce in number as they don’t get replaced. So, even though you may not like the taste of bitter gourd now, you will love it when you are older.
Even when your tongue gets scalded by eating something hot, you are unable to taste all the flavours. Only when your taste buds are replaced with new ones can you can savour the flavours in your food again.
The other day, when I woke up in the morning with a blocked nose, everything tasted dull, even my favourite chocolate chip pancakes. Imagine my surprise when I found out that our taste buds are connected to our nose!
When you eat a slice of chocolate cake, the aroma released from the cake sends a signal to your nose and further to your brain. This combined action of your taste buds, nose and brain creates the perfect sensation of taste and flavour in your mouth.
It’s amazing that our taste buds which are so microscopically small play such an important role in our lives and let us experience and enjoy so many different flavours in a variety of cuisines.
Next time an adult insists that you eat spicy food that they don’t find spicy at all, you can simply tell them that you have more taste buds than them.